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Meet Your Neighbor: Katrina Basic

With all of the social distancing, we miss meeting new faces. So, we thought we would step in and virtually introduce you to one of our own. Katrina is one of the newer members of Neighborhood Goods and serves as our SVP of Finance. 

Katrina and her family at a beach in their neighborhood.

She lives in California and when we were back in our office, she would fly to Dallas on a Sunday and head back to LA  on Thursday. Currently, we are all very jealous of her scenic backgrounds whenever she chats with us on video calls, so we figured the best way to start the conversation was by asking her to describe her view:

We live on a hill and we have a daylight basement situation, so from our back porch, I can see a hedge and our yard. But beyond that hedge and beyond the trees, I can see a slight, little view of Catalina Island and the water. It’s super tiny but it’s there. My office looks out the backyard and there are so many hummingbirds and butterflies right now. It’s been fun to watch them out the window while I’m working.

What’s your favorite part about your neighborhood?

It’s really stunningly beautiful, so it never gets old to me. This time right now to be home and enjoy it and being outdoors is really kind of special because I’ve always been the one driving away from here while [my husband], Jeff, and the kids got to stay here all day. I’m appreciating just how pretty it is and how nice it is to go outside and do some … hiking? It’s not really hiking since our trails aren’t open, but it’s nice to get outside and still enjoy the beauty around us. 

Peacocks are some of Katrina’s favorite neighbors.

Jeff and I, every couple of days, go on a bike ride and we pass our same neighbors everyday when they’re out taking their walks. I’ve also been taking walks with my neighbor who’s way more in shape than I am, so she kills me. We took a walk up this massive hill yesterday. I think it was a 5.5 mile loop… near the cliffs and the water and it was really nice.

Do you think you’re getting to know more of your neighbors now than you did before?

Not really. You know, everyone’s sort of staying inside. We live on a little culdesac and our neighbors at the end have three little boys so that’s really fun. Because when they’re out playing it lifts your spirits to hear them. But it’s probably the same level [as before] of interaction with my neighbors.

What I do know is that in our area there’s a really cute market called Lunada Bay Market. I’ve been going there more because it’s super convenient. I am super impressed at the quality of food they have in there. A woman in our neighborhood took over the space and built out a little market. It’s nice to know we’re supporting her and her business.

In one word, how would you describe your career journey?

An adventure. (That’s technically two words, but we’ll let her slide.)

Can you elaborate on that?

I don’t know that I had a lot of expectations starting out in my career and I think, in some ways, just being open to opportunities has shaped my career. Out of college I had started at UNIONBAY Sportswear. I went to school for business and accounting. When I was trying to figure out what I was going to do after school, the typical path was auditing, but I wanted to be in a business and learn about business and to be able to participate. So for me, starting, out of school, UNIONBAY Sportswear was fun because it was a product I could really understand. I grew up in the Seattle area, so the options were like “go work for Microsoft” or “go work for Boeing” in terms of big businesses. So, starting in a sportswear company that was a good size was really great because I could see it all. I got curious and received lots of opportunities. I started there as a staff accountant and left as their highest financial role, [after being their for] eight years. I met Jeff there and I was working there when both babies were born. It was a really great place for me.

Then the woman who has been a mentor to me, had gone to Zumiez and she recruited me. Those kinds of things were a little bit of a risk, but being open to the opportunity and taking it was really… I'm just thankful I did. It would have been safe to just stay at UNIONBAY. [Zumiez] ultimately went public but all I learned from taking that opportunity and doing it was huge. If I would have just played it safe and said, “My kids are little and I’ve got a good job- why would I leave?” I would have missed that whole opportunity.

Other times, I’ve taken risks and it didn’t work out. The company I went to after Zumiez was in the housing market and that company filed bankruptcy because it was 2007-2008 and the house market crash. So, not every risk has paid off but I think I’ve learned something and I’ve learned to be resilient and open to opportunities. It’s all been good… an adventure!

Was it accounting or business that motivated you more in your career?

This business aspect of things, for sure. My mom is a CFO. She was most recently a CEO and I think some of it just clicked for me. When I was going to college, I thought I would go to law school afterwards. I took an accounting class as part of my business courses and it all just made a lot of sense to me. I had a professor who said, “You should probably do this.” I said, “Ok! This is kinda easy.” In reality, I didn’t want to go to school any longer. I knew that I was done and didn’t want to go to law school. 

I like from the finance side you get to see the whole business. That’s been the most interesting to me and the most rewarding part about what I do. It’s being able to see all of it and thinking about ways to make improvements.

What brought you to Neighborhood Goods?

My whole background has been retail and direct-to-consumer goods. For me, being able to have some sort of connection with the end consumer has always been interesting. I wouldn’t be really happy working at a company where I had to describe it by one little widget that goes into something bigger and that bigger thing is the thing you know. I like being able to connect with people through the products and services of the company that I work with.

When I learned about Neighborhood Goods, I was super excited that in a place where retail and the retail industry has been challenged, someone was thinking about it differently. Being able to take the skillset I have from my retail experience and apply it in a new way that I think is more relevant to people and has the opportunity to expand while retail has had its challenges was really appealing to me. I actually did a little bit of research, found out about the company, and then reached out to Matt (our CEO and co-founder) directly. And one thing led to another and here I am.

When you are intensely focused on Excel, what music are you listening to?

I listen to all kinds of music. Today, I’ve been listening to a Shins radio station so things along that vibe. I listen to rap, I do like [anything from] Snoop Dog to country. I just really need music to distract me. I’m one of those people that doesn’t do well with other sounds [while I’m working]. I need the white noise of music to keep me focused. So, all sorts- and I’m glad I passed this onto my kids. They are pretty well-rounded on the music front.

When you aren’t crunching the numbers, what can we find you doing?

Cooking, I love to cook. 

Cooking, not baking?

I like both! My sisters and I made all of our wedding cakes… and my brother’s wedding cake… and my cousin’s wedding cake. So, I like to bake too.

That’s more than “I like to bake!” That’s really impressive.

I was recently going through old pictures and I found pictures of the wedding cakes. The first one we did was my younger sister’s wedding cake. I was laughing because we didn’t know what the heck we were doing. We baked them some place and then had to transport them to the reception and some things didn’t turn out as well so we just covered up all of the mistakes with flowers. We ended up improving our skills. The last one we did was my younger brother’s wedding cake and was pretty elaborate. It turned out well but had all of these candied flowers on it and they were super tedious to make.

Katrina later said it took weeks to make all of these flowers.

What else would you be doing when you aren’t cooking and/or baking?

Spending time with the kiddos and socializing with our friends. Also, we love to travel so you can probably find us planning an adventure.

Katrina is one of the many excellent humans we get to work with and we can’t wait for you to meet more of the Neighborhood.